Office Affair Leads to Lawsuit Against ESPN

STAMFORD, Conn. (CN) – A former production assistant claims that ESPN defamed her to The Associated Press after firing for her having an affair with a co-worker. The somewhat tangled affair involved Brooke Hundley, who went to work for ESPN when she was 21, and Steve Phillips, former general manager of the New York Mets and an ESPN baseball analyst and announcer.

     The two met at the 2009 All-Star game, and the affair ended with Hundley and Phillips both making allegations about the other, prompting ESPN to launch an investigation, according to Hundley’s Superior Court complaint.
     Hundley says that ESPN closed the investigation after she and Phillips agreed to rescind their complaints against each other. She claims that ESPN told them they would not lose their jobs.
But soon afterward, the New York Post ran an article under the headline, “Steve Phillips in foul trouble with production assistant,” which Hundley claims was based upon false statements that Phillips had told the Wilton police, portraying her as a “dumped mistress” who had a “‘Fatal Attraction’ freakout.”
     Hundley also claims that the article, citing the police report, inaccurately reported who dumped whom.
     She claims that ESPN put her on paid administrative leave after the Post article came out, to “give it a few days to die down.” She says the station told her it “had a few things to look into.”
     Hundley claims she was told that they would “discuss it Monday” but ESPN fired her that day for “misconduct … including but not limited to failure to fully cooperate with the investigation.”
     Several weeks later, ESPN told The Associated Press ESPN said that its “investigation found Hundley’s characterization of the events inconsistent,” according to the complaint.
     Hundley denies it. She seeks punitive damages, back pay and lost benefits, alleging emotional distress, mental anguish and damage to reputation.
     She is represented by Richard Hayber.     

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